Friday, July 8, 2011

Bell's Oberon Ale

Type: Wheat Ale
Origin: Kalamazoo, MI
Price: $4/16 oz pint
ABV: 5.8%

Went on a long weekend trip to beautiful North Carolina over the weekend, and was able to sample a handful of beers that aren't available on our side of the country.

I had this first beer of the trip at a little gem of a beer-and-sammich joint called the Crescent Moon Cafe in Hickory, NC. I immediately honed in on it out of their 27 taps, since I was aware of Bell's reputation and in the mood for a nice wheat beer
because it was a ball-melting 97 degrees out with about 268% humidity- par for the course for NC in July. The color was immediately inviting, a typical-for-wheat slightly hazy yellow. Not much head (the picture is inaccurate, I'd already taken the first couple of sips down), and a surprisingly muted nose (the usual wheatiness, plus very light citrus and apricot) for which I had to bury my nose in the glass to get a full sense, though that may have had more to do with the pint glass than the beer itself. Nice lightly sweet flavor with a delicate, almost pilsnerish (i.e. slightly skunky) bitterness. The citrus and apricot wake up a bit over time, and when you put all of these things together, you have a refreshing and drinkable brew, but one that could use a bit more body in both the nose and the flavor to make it a real standout. Given Oberon's drinkability, I could've easily sat there and had 2 or 8 more of these, but we had to git on down the road.

I have to add an extra note about Bell's here- I was able to have their Two-Hearted IPA while in NC, but I was at a wedding and couldn't take the time to give it a proper review. But all told, it was delicious, probably in the top 3 of the year. Bell's' reputation has them up there with Stone, DFH, Russian River, and the other craft beer heavyweights, so someone should start sending their shit to San Diego STAT. I don't use alliteration unless I'm really fucking serious.

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